Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s party is reportedly considering nominating former Lombardy region governor Roberto Formigoni, a former politician convicted of corruption, in the upcoming 2024 European elections.
According to rumours in the Italian press, Formigoni could be one of Fratelli d’Italia’s candidates in the 2024 European elections, despite the corruption conviction he is still serving.
Formigoni, a former Forza Italia (EPP) MP and senator, was sentenced in 2019 to five years and ten months in prison for corruption. Since last October, with 17 months to serve, he has been on community service probation at a nunnery where he teaches Italian. The end of this commitment is set for March 2024, just a few weeks before the European elections.
“He has been a very good region president and has certainly been an outstanding politician. I think it would be an enrichment for everyone”, commented the current president of the Lombardy region Attilio Fontana (Lega/ID).
Sponsoring Formigoni’s candidature appears to be Senate President Ignazio La Russa (Fratelli d’Italia/ECR), a leading figure in the party who has been in the spotlight several times for controversial statements on fascism.
Fratelli d’Italia’s objective would be to nominate Formigoni to gather the votes of the moderate Catholic world of the northern regions, traditionally voting for Forza Italia, and proceed with the shift towards the centre that the party started in September 2022, when Giorgia Meloni took office in the government together with Matteo Salvini’s Lega and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.
The ‘normalisation’ of Fratelli d’Italia began also in Brussels, where the party seems to be getting closer and closer to Manfred Weber’s European People’s Party (EPP).
Speaking via video at Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia convention in Milan over the weekend, Weber said the Italian coalition is an “interesting” model for the EPP.
“The Italian model is particularly interesting for the EPP […] I think we can learn a lot from your experience, given the upcoming European elections. Winning, for us, is a responsibility. Who else could lead Europe in these difficult times?” he added.
The group of Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), of which Fratelli d’Italia is a member and Meloni is president, is currently the fifth-largest political force in the EU Parliament. However, according to the latest polls ahead of the next European elections, it could become the third-largest group with 85 seats.
(Federica Pascale | EURACTIV.it)
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